The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

FCC Enforcement Watch Archives: 2019

Some NALs (Notices of Apparent Liability), Forfeiture Orders, Notices of Violation (NOVs), and Consent Decrees issued by the MB (Media Bureau) or the EB (Enforcement Bureau) are worth taking a look.

Note: Clicking on the NAL amount takes you to the FCC Notice.
Clicking on the cited rule number will take you to the text of the rule.

12/18/19 – The FCC has issued a number of NALs listing fines to stations that filed their renewal applications after the due date.

With applications now on-line and the Public File on-line, the FCC is a lot less tolerant of late or missing filings.

12/13/19 – We do not normally spend a lot of time reporting on pirate stations. They usually ignore the FCC until a Field Agent turns up, leading to an NAL, which they do not pay, and they tend to pop up elsewhere. Whack-a-mole, in effect.

But two NALs show an escalation of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau’s actions. Radio TeleBoston and Radio Concorde are being cited for various illegal operations and ignoring the FCC’s warnings. Potential fines of $453k and $151k are noticed.

The FCC Commissioners have issued statements condemning pirates but, aside from issuing higher and higher fines, few solutions have been found.

10/26/19 – It is not only the Issues & Programs lists that the FCC is checking during renewal season, but if your station owes any money to the FCC, not only will your renewal be held up, your license may be cancelled! Four Georgia stations were warned this past week. La Favorita and Cox Broadcast Group got formal notice.

10/8/19 – 73.3526 – Yes, the Issues & Programs lists need to be on file, on time. Renewal Applications are going to get “dinged” for failure. WPEX(FM) in Kenbridge VA was issued an NALF for $15k for failure to file the I&Ps and update the FCCs OPIF file. Oh .. and yes .. a short renewal term!

10/8/19 – 73.3539 – Renewal Applications need to be filed on time. WRIR-LP, Richmond VA was due on June 3rd, but not filed for six week, netting the station an NALF for $1,500.

10/7/19 – 73.1365 – Stations that are off the air for damage or equipment failure are to notify the FCC, asking for an STA within 24 hours. WXUT, Toledo OH, was off for five months without seeking an STA. Additionally, as a share-time arrangement, deviation from normal programming hours requires notification of the FCC. An NOV was issued.

9/20/19 – As License Renewal season gets underway, the FCC has now provided evidence that they are watching the on-line Public Information Files and are ready to issue fines against stations that fail to do the Issues & Programs lists on time. This is the lesson from the NALF for $15k issued to WLLL, Lynchburg VA. WLLL had not filed any I&P lists during the last license period. The excuse was the owner’s age and lack of computer literacy – but the FCC rejected that. In addition to the $15k fine, the station received a short, two-year license term.

9/10/19 – Despite a reprieve (see 6/6/19, below), the “D” has returned to WGEA, Geneva AL, as the Shelley Broadcasting Company has not made good on regulatory fees due since 2008. The accumulated fees, about $10,000, are still unpaid with the station claiming the IRS owes it money. The FCC has now deleted the license.

9/9/19 – The FCC continues to show it is serious about misusing EAS tones or simulated tones. It has proposed an NALF for $272,000 fine against CBS Broadcasting for misusing the EAS tones. This was in an episode of Young Sheldon on 15 O&O stations, plus 212 others on April 12, 2018. The tones were modified, but the FCC contends it still resembled actual EAS tones.

9/5/19 – San Tan Educational Media (KFXY-LP, Mesa AZ) has concluded a matter with the FCC regarding improper changes in ownership and improper underwriting announcements. The $1.5K payment in the ORDER will settle the matter.

8/27/19 – You do have to pay the FCC. You do! Three stations in GA, LA, and TN were given notice that if they do not pay up their regulatory fees for periods of 3 to 7 years, the FCC intends to move them to the “D” class. The licenses for WDSP(AM), De Funiak Springs GAKDLA(AM), De Ridder LA, and WVOL(AM), Berry Hill TN are told to pay up or explain why quickly. This is not a place to play “chicken” with the FCC!

8/20/19 – Translators can cause out-of-band interference, too. Two translators were issued NOV’s for spurious emissions on the aeronautical frequencies 114.8, 126.47, and 127.58 MHz. W272DH, Smyrna Beach FL and W274AY, Deltona FL each received an NOL requiring a response and remedy.

8/15/19 – The FCC released a Public Notice and a list of settlements (totaling $634,000) from the Enforcement Bureau for misuse/abuse of the EAS (and WEA) tones. The settlements range from broadcast television (ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! – $395,000) and radio (KDAY/KDEY – $67,000) to cable channels (AMC and Discovery). The FCC has said for some time it is serious about using EAS tones in promos, news, or commercials, although it has been somewhat lenient for news items following the Hawaii false alert. There is one exception, the FEMA has produced a set of “simulated tones” which sound similar, but will not set off an EAS receiver, and that may be used for promos, news, etc.

8/6/19 –An NALF for $233,000 was issued to four Cumulus license holding entities for a number of violations of the Sponsorship ID rules in 2017 and 2018. This follows previous actions against Cumulus in 2011 Included are WFBE(FM) and WTRX(AM), Flint, MI, WTKA(AM) and WWWW-FM, Ann Arbor MI, WMAC(AM), Macon GA, WDVD(FM) and WDRQ(FM), Detroit MI. Previously, Cumulus paid $540,000 to settle issues primarily involving WOKQ, Dover NH, and agreed to implement a compliance program. The FCC determined Cumulus had not lived up to its agreement.

7/31/19 – Stations required to reduce power at sunset need to do so, the FCC reminds everyone. WAJD in Gainsville, FL was issued an NOV after being observed with day power (5 kW) after sunset.

6/13/19 – The FCC issued an Order reducing the fine levied on KIBH, Seward, AK, requiring a payment of $2k (down from $66k), to conclude a messy inspection in 2013 (7/19/17 below). The Commission decided that deletion was done too early, and issued a warning that failure to pay would result in a final deletion.

6/6/19 – 11.52 – KWUL, Elsbury MO, received an NOV for apparently not monitoring the assigned LP-1 and LP-2. The station is in receivership, but the EAS monitoring must go on!

6/6/19 – 1.1910 – Two stations have dodged the dreaded “D” prefix to their call letters. WGEA, Geneva AL, and WNPZ, Knoxville TN, both were granted partial dismissal of the revocation of license. They got the “D” removed and renewal applications reinstated. However, both were reminded of their “Red Letter” status and that paying due fees was essential. One station had been paying $42.97, but stopped in 2015.

4/18/19 – 73.1745 – Daytimers should, according to the FCC not be on the air at night. WPSO, Port Richey FL, was issued an NOV for being on for nearly an hour after sunset.

4/18/19 – 74.1251 – Translators, like fill power stations, must get permission to change site or antenna. K296FT, West Haven, OR, received an NOV for changing from an omni to directional antenna without permission.

4/5/19 –11.3511.5611.6173.182073.1560, and more – An NOV was sent to Hubbard Advertising’s WLLL in Lynchburg, VA. The station was found to have a slew of violations, including EAS violations, no EAS, tower lighting failure, operation at 533% of authorized power, and more. This will take a lot of ‘splaining!

4/4/19 – 1.1164 – There are two things you do not want to do with the FCC: (1) You never lie to them, and (2) You do not ignore correspondence from them. The is why DWJDF(FM) Orange, MA received a Revocation Order for failing to pay regulatory fees for five years. When notified by the FCC, the owners Deane Brothers Broadcasting did not respond. Hence the Commission deleted the station. April 4 – two more stations were told to pay up or lose the license: KSBH, Coushatta, LA, owes over $11.5k dating back to 2009, and WJRI in Metropolis IL owes somne $15.2k dating back to 2007. Both stations were given 60 days to pay in full. Superman is not expected to be of much help, Kryptonite is not accespted.

4/3/19 – 73.1610 – The FCC for some reason does insist a station be built where authorized. For some reason, LPFMs violate this rule a lot. An NOV was issued to KZLU-LP in Baton Rouge, LA. The station did notify the Commission of the construction, but it was 3.5 miles from where it was supposed to be.

3/27/19 – 301, 74.125174.123174.1263 – Translators must operate from their assigned locations and obey the rules for translators. An NAL for $18k was issued to Alabama Media LLC for operation of their translator W299BX from an unauthorized location, with programming originated only on the translator, and being off the air for 11 months without permission. The FCC actually increased the fine for way the owners did not notify the Commission properly and apparently only acted after a Field Agent discovered the violations.

3/18/19 – 97.301, 97.103, 97.113 – An Amateur station operating on 95.7 MHz. The FCC wants to know why and has has issued an NOV to Daryl Thomas (KE6MWS) of Charmichael CA.

3/14/19 – 11.1511.52 – Even LP stations must obey EAS rules. KBSF-LF in Portland OR received an NOV for not having an EAS Handbook at the “normal duty position” and only monitoring one station – one not in the State EAS plan.

3/13/19 – 73.49 – The FCC expects to see a secure, locked fence around an AM tower. KVAM, Loveland CO was not secure when the FCC came by in April 2018, and has now received an NOV for the lapse. It is unclear why it took a year for the NOV to be issued.

3/8/19 – 73.1251 – Keeping a station to the authorized power is not a “service suggestion.” The FCC issued an NOV to the owner of translator W228DF for running as much 368% of authorized power.

3/4/19 – 17.48 – Failure to report tower lighting that was inoperative drew an NOV for Steckline Communications in Goymun OK. Field Agents noted two towers were without top flashing lights.